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Stocks Weaker After Dell

The hardware giant's revenue forecast is slightly light.

Stocks were slightly lower early Friday as



fourth quarter failed to light any fires.

Index futures recently showed the

S&P 500

trading 2 points below fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a half-point decline. The 10-year Treasury bond was unchanged in price to yield 4.58% -- 10 basis points below the two-year yield -- while the dollar was higher against the yen and lower against the euro.

Oil was pressing toward $60 a barrel as traders prepared for a cold blast in the Northeast, where most of the country's natural gas and heating oil is consumed. The March crude contract was up $1.05 to $59.91 a barrel, after adding 2% on Thursday.

Overseas markets were higher outside of Japan, where concerns about future interest-rate policy drove the Nikkei down 2% to 15,713 overnight. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 was up 0.2% to 5839 and Germany's Xetra DAX rose 0.2% to 4803. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2% to 15,476.

Dell's fourth-quarter earnings rose 52% from a year ago to $1.01 billion, or 43 cents a share, on a 13% rise in revenue to $15.18 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 41 cents a share on sales of $14.82 billion. For the first quarter, Dell pegged revenue at $14.2 billion to $14.6 billion. Analysts wanted $14.73 billion.

Graphics chipmaker



earned $98.1 million, or 53 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, roughly doubling the year-ago result. Sales rose 12% to $633.6 million. Analysts had forecast earnings of 49 cents a share on sales of $625.3 million.

Nvidia gave first-quarter guidance that implies EPS of roughly 41 cents to 50 cents a share, or 50 cents to 59 cents a share, excluding options. Sales should be $652.6 million to $671.6 million. Analysts were expecting 45 cents a share on sales of $614.5 million.

To view David Peltier's video take on today's premarket action, click here




first-quarter earnings fell more than 50% to $12.6 million, or 5 cents a share, while adjusted earnings of 10 cents a share were a nickel ahead of estimates. Revenue of $170.1 million was also well ahead of views.



second-quarter profit rose 26% to $184.9 million, or $1.02 a share, while sales rose 15% to $742.7 million. Analysts were forecasting earnings of 95 cents a share on sales of $733 million. The company's 2006 guidance was slightly soft.

Time Warner


CEO Dick Parsons can claim a win in his efforts to fend off activist shareholder Carl Icahn. According to reports, Icahn has dropped a plan to propose a whole new slate of directors to Time Warner's board, and instead will seek to place five representatives with 14-member panel. Icahn's bankers declined to comment.